Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has this afternoon revealed that he expects defender Chris Smalling to return to the club, following the expiration of his loan with Roma.
English international Smalling had spent the last 9 years of his career on the books of Premier League giants Manchester United.
However, on the back of Harry Maguire’s big-money arrival from Leicester City over the summer, Smalling was deemed surplus to requirements by Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
As such, on the back of weeks of speculation, the 29-year-old departed Old Trafford for Serie A outfit AS Roma at the end of August.
Smalling made the move to the Stadio Olimpico on loan for the 2019/20 campaign.
And, after struggling for game-time over the early weeks of his stint in the Italian capital, Smalling has since gone on to thoroughly-impress of late.
The former Fulham youngster has notched starts in 13 of Roma’s last 14 outings, playing a key role in the club’s resurgence over recent weeks.
Smalling even notched a goal and 2 assists in a Man of the Match display versus Brescia late last month.
🔥 Chris Smalling for Roma today…
– 49th minute: Goal
– 57th minute: Assist
– 66th minute: Assist
— The Sportsman Bet (@TheSportsmanBet) November 24, 2019
Smalling’s positive impression at the Stadio Olimpico thus far, meanwhile, has seen reports mount that the Roma board have already come to the decision to attempt to make the stopper’s transfer permanent.
The reliable Gianluca Di Marzio previously revealed that Smalling has ‘convinced everyone’ at the club, and that the capital giants have begun ‘working towards redemption at the end of the season’.
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) October 25, 2019
Man United return
If the latest comments of Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are anything to go by, though, then this will not prove to be the case.
Speaking in a press conference earlier today, Solskjaer was drawn on the possibility of Smalling returning to Old Trafford next summer.
And the Norwegian’s response appeared to be a definitive one:
‘Yeah [he will return].’
‘Chris has been fantastic, but we know sometimes if you change the environment it can go both ways. But Chris is the type to relish these challenges.’
‘He’s cultured, enjoys life down there. It’s a new experience for him, and he is a boy who couldn’t be here without being a regular and I’m so happy for him. We can see the top player he is.’
Quotes via the Sun